02 August 2016

Today's Read: The Nix by Nathan Hill

The NIx by Nathan HillWhat would you do if the mother who abandoned you decades ago made national news after being arrested for protesting at a political rally? Would you come to her rescue? Samuel Anderson, English professor and online gamer decides to help his mother, which leads him to uncover family secrets.

If Samuel had known his mother was leaving, he might have paid more attention. He might have listened more carefully to her, observed her more closely, written certain crucial things down. Maybe could have acted differently, spoken differently been a different person.

Maybe he could have been a child worth sticking around for.
The Nix by Nathan Hill (Penguin Random House, Knopf, 2016, p. 3)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: the United States at four points in time: 2011, 1988, 1968, 1944
  • Circumstances: Samuel's mother left him in 1988 when he was only 11 years old. After their unexpected reunion, he decides to help her, which involves delving into her past. What he discovers makes him question family truths and see America in a new way. He might also find a way to save himself.
  • Genre: fiction; literary fiction
  • Themes: American culture and politics, family, motherhood, and following one's bliss.
  • Characters: Samuel, English professor and gamer; Faye, his mother; Sheldon Parker, the conservative politician whom Faye was protesting against; Samuel's students and colleagues at the university; Samuel's gamer friends; real people from politics, the media, and the arts
  • What does the title mean? Apparently the Nix is being from Norse mythology. According to the back of the book, it's "a spirit who appears as a white horse that steals children away."
  • Things to know: Reviewers have been all over the place. Some say it's going to be their favorite book of the year; others couldn't get past the first third; and still others though it was just okay. Kirkus gave The Nix a starred review, and EW put it on it's must-read list. It was also a BEA2016 buzz book. Author Nathan Hill is an award-winning short story writer. This is his debut novel.
  • My thoughts: I'm going to give this 600-page tome a try because the wildly mixed reviews have made me curious. I think I'm going be most interested in the sections that take place in 1968, but maybe I'll be surprised.

22 comments:

Les 8/2/16, 7:53 AM  

That's quite a chunkster! I think I'll wait to see how you feel about it after you've finished. ;)

Laura Thomas 8/2/16, 8:10 AM  

It's sad that he thinks it might have been his fault she left and that he could have changed it. I'd think long and hard about helping her now.

My TT from Mummy's Little Angel

Sarah's Book Shelves 8/2/16, 8:18 AM  

I've been hearing so much about this book, but am waiting for some trusted blogger friends to read it first since it's so long! I got burned by City on Fire and am super skittish about long books these days...esp ones with tons of buzz, but mixed reviews.

That being said, I did really like the first paragraph!

Daryl 8/2/16, 8:23 AM  

i don tknow . i think i will wait to hear how you liked it .. thanks!

PD Workman 8/2/16, 8:50 AM  

Poor guy. I feel bad for him.

Mine is from a YA book about a girl in therapy for an eating disorder: https://wp.me/p3Nz8P-Ja

bermudaonion 8/2/16, 9:09 AM  

I've seen the mixed reviews for this one too so will be curious to see what you think.

Kailana 8/2/16, 9:21 AM  

I have been seeing this one around and Audible mentioned it was one of the August releases they were most excited about. Be curious to see what you think!

Kathy Martin 8/2/16, 9:32 AM  

This sounds interesting. I don't generally read in that genre. My teaser this week is from The Widower's Wife by Cate Holahan - a mystery from my review stack. Happy reading!

Sherry Fundin 8/2/16, 9:42 AM  

Is there a lesson in there for the rest of us?
sherry @ fundinmental My TT

Catherine BookClubLibrarian 8/2/16, 9:47 AM  

Nice choice. I've got an ARC of this one. I keep passing it over because of its length, but I hope to get to it before too long.

JoAnn 8/2/16, 10:06 AM  

Hmm, this sounds interesting but I'll wait for your thoughts before committing to another chunkster!

Margot 8/2/16, 10:16 AM  

I like the premise of the book although the first paragraph didn't grab me. I'd like to read a bit more.

sjhigbee 8/2/16, 11:09 AM  

Gosh - that's a bit of a beast... How are you getting on with it? I have to say, the premise and the writing look very strong. Hope it's an enjoyable read. This is my offering - https://sjhigbee.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/teaser-tuesday-2nd-august-2016/

Literary Feline 8/2/16, 12:43 PM  

Such a sad opening, and an interesting sounding book!

Sandra Nachlinger 8/2/16, 1:10 PM  

Opening a 600-page book is quite a commitment! This story sounds fascinating, and I hope you enjoy reading it.
Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.
Sandy @ TEXAS TWANG

Charlie Anderson 8/2/16, 1:36 PM  

How intriguing! And the fact that the reviews are all over the place. I am so interested in this book!

Majanka Verstraete 8/2/16, 2:32 PM  

Aww, this teaser makes me sad. Poor kid to think that way.


Here's my teaser.

Debbie Rodgers 8/2/16, 4:51 PM  

I'm anxious to find out what you think of this! I haven't seen any reviews, but the premise is very intriguing. But I don't want to be investing the time in 600 pages if I'm not going to at least really like it.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 8/2/16, 7:40 PM  

Sad opening yet, I am still very curious.

Heather Fineisen 8/2/16, 8:00 PM  

My curiosity is piqued. I would keep reading. Enjoy!

Yvonne 8/2/16, 8:06 PM  

It sounds like it could be an interesting read.

Jackie Mc Guinness 8/3/16, 11:05 AM  

You're the second blogger this morning to mention this book so I'm adding it to my TBR.

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